Former President Barack Obama’s days of avoiding the political fray may be over.
During a commencement speech for graduates of historically black colleges and universities, Obama said publicly that those in charge of the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic don’t know “what they are doing” and “aren’t even pretending to be in charge,” Fox News reported.
Obama out of the shadows?
According to Fox, Obama made the comments during “Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition,” a two-hour commencement special broadcast that aired on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter on Saturday. The former president also spoke about the current tendency to be fractured and divided politically and encouraged his audience to consider this when voting in the November election.
“More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing,” he said, according to Fox. “A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”
Obama also told graduates that “if the world’s going to get better, it’s going to be up to you,” NBC News reported.
Obama out of the shadows?
As with previous comments about Trump’s “selfishness” in his coronavirus response, Obama did not name President Donald Trump directly — but there was no mistaking the criticism was aimed straight at the current commander-in-chief.
“This election that’s coming up on every level is so important because what we’re going to be battling is not just a particular individual or a political party. What we’re fighting against is these long-term trends in which being selfish, being tribal, being divided, and seeing others as an enemy — that has become a stronger impulse in American life,” the former president said previously, according to Fox.
Taken together, Obama’s recent remarks may be the end of his decision to keep a low profile after leaving office, even as Trump has criticized and blamed him for many of the problems that the current administration has had to solve, such as the lack of adequate medical supplies needed to fight COVID-19.
Addressing this issue directly, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany put out a statement Saturday evening. “President Trump directed the greatest mobilization of the private sector since World War II to fill the stockpile left depleted by his predecessor,” she said, according to NBC. “As we look to the future, we have the [p]resident who ushered in the hottest economy in modern history ready to do it a second time.”
The media gets it wrong – again
For his part, Trump responded to critics with a tweet Saturday arguing that the media is wrong to say that he’s making the federal government’s virus response efforts all about himself, as Fox reported. The president may have been addressing the phenomenon of governors having a 70% to 80% approval rating on their handling of the coronavirus, while Trump’s rating is still in the 40s and 50s.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has had very high approval ratings, for example, even though his policy of forcing nursing homes to readmit positive coronavirus patients is now thought to be responsible for several thousand deaths in that state, as U.S. News & World Report notes.
We’ve done a GREAT job on Covid response, making all Governors look good, some fantastic (and that’s OK), but the Lamestream Media doesn’t want to go with that narrative, and the Do Nothing Dems talking point is to say only bad about “Trump”. I made everybody look good, but me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 16, 2020